26. How can emotion be used to sell a product and create brand loyalty?

9 Nov

According to Scott Bedbury, author of A New Brand World, “emotions drive most of our big decisions.” Think about the most important decision we make in our life — who we marry. This choice is almost solely based on emotion. Advertisers attempt to use emotion in their campaigns in hopes that they will be able to create an emotional tie between a consumer and their product. This emotional tie will then lead to brand loyalty which will cause the customers to keep coming back. “Great brands find relevant ways to tap the emotional drivers that already reside deep within each of us” (Bedbury, 96).

One way advertisers use emotion in their ads is by making the consumer feel sadness or sympathy. This is usually done by showing something or someone that is worse off than yourself so you feel obligated to help. A perfect example of this is the latest ASPCA commercial. This ad shows abandoned animals in shelters and on the street and then asks for money to save them. The most emotional part of this commercial is that it is set to Sarah McLachlan’s song Angel. Most people love animals and want to help a puppy in need, but it is hard not to change the channel when this commercial comes on. The ASPCA takes it to the extreme with emotion to the point where they are almost irritating. A company that uses this tactic successfully for a similar cause is Pedigree. They recently came out with a campaign to promote their Pedigree Adoption Drive. Their commercials use simple background music, the soothing voice of David Duchovny and realistic footage, such as a dog named Echo at the pound waiting for his next family. The subtleness and authenticity of the ad draw real emotion and resonance from the viewer. Pedigree even did a follow up ad that showed Echo getting a home. Research by Dr Robert Heath, published in the Journal of Advertising Research, found that the amount of emotional content in television advertisements “affected viewers’ opinions of the product, regardless of the intended message.” Seeing these Pedigree ads may not cause the viewer to run out and buy dog food, but they may want to visit their local pound.

Another way emotions are used is by creating resonance or a link to one’s memories. Advertisements that successfully cause a consumer to reminisce or think back to a better time will automatically have a better change of securing brand loyalty. This past Halloween, Kellogg’s added to their Childhood is Calling campaign for Rice Krispies with a commercial showing two little girls making Halloween shaped treats with their mom. This ad evokes the feeling of the season and reminds viewers of their families and how they celebrate, or used to celebrate, the holidays with their family. Memories like that one are what drive people to the grocery store to buy a box of Rice Krispies to make a batch with their own children. Another company that successfully draws on these emotions is Harley Davidson. No one better conveys the feeling of the open road and freedom than them. Scott Bedbury reminds us that Harley did not invents these feelings, but “that primal emotion goes back to the time one of our cave-dwelling ancestors intentionally took the long way home” (Bedbury, 96). Any company can draw on the memories and emotions of a consumer, and if you do so correctly it will create lasting brand loyalty.

Advertisements also use excitement and exhilaration to get customers. Over the last couple years, Disney has made commercials with impatient kids jumping for joy after finding out about their next trip to Disneyland. Ads like this not only excite children, but the parents as well. Going back to Disneyland for the first time as a parent brings a whole new element of joy and eagerness. The 2010 FIFA World Cup was another much anticipated event with a slew of commercials. Each commercial brought a little more impatience and excitement for the upcoming tournament. Even Nike joined in during the spring with their Write the Future football campaign. These ads all use emotion to driving the consumer’s willingness to buy. They are pulled psychologically towards these places or events because of the excitement and desire to be a part of something big.

It has been proven that consumers are more likely to buy if they feel an emotional connection to the product. Whether it be pity, fear, excitement or resonance, “the entire range of human emotions is out there to be tapped as opportunities for augmenting and enriching brands” (Bedbury, 95). Consumers must be smart and not give in to their emotions too easily or they will not be happy with the purchasing decisions. Companies have to be careful not to take advantage of their customers’ emotions or overdo it with the dramatics. All they need is a simple, realistic campaign with an emotional connection and the ability to keep people coming back for more, and you have created brand loyalty.

Work Cited:

Bedbury, Scott, and Stephen Fenichell. A New Brand World: 8 Principles for Achieving Brand Leadership in the 21st Century. New York: Penguin, 2003. Print.

Neumeier, Marty. Zag : the Number-one Strategy of High-performance Brands : a Whiteboard Overview. Berkeley, CA: AIGA, 2007. Print.

Photos courtesy of adsoftheworld.com, infotechdesign.net, and disneyland.disney.go.com

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